Targeted advertising remains relevant as the internet continues to dramatically expand the options available to consumers today and shift consumer habits.
So far in 2023, Huawei organised Petal Ads Summit in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, where industry experts gathered to discuss the latest developments in mobile advertising. During the events, Huawei showcased Petal Ads — a rebranded version of its Huawei Ads platform — that aims to offer local enterprises a more cutting-edge and borderless approach to market to their customers.
A one-stop shop for brands’ ad needs
Launched in 2019, the Petal Ads advertising platform makes use of a key weapon in its arsenal: Huawei’s expansive mobile ecosystem, one of the largest in the world.
Essentially, brands can use Petal Ads’ platform to create ads that are exclusively served to users of Huawei’s products and services. Think of it as Huawei giving brands a megaphone to speak directly to users of any Huawei products and services via a device or platform they already use every day.
“Our ecosystem has over 730 million global users spanning numerous products and services including smartphones, tablets, wearables, owned media and third-party apps,” says the head of Petal Ads, HUAWEI APAC region. “Petal Ads allows brands to tap into new and unique audiences that may not be easily accessible through other platforms.”
At the heart of Petal Ads is a one-stop delivery platform equipped with numerous resources that support brands’ ad needs, from creation right up to impact measurement. Flexibility, said a Petal Ads spokesperson, is paramount so brands can explore a range of ad formats, including video, splash, and native ads.
“We give advertisers the capability to customise marketing solutions across the Petal Ads platform to fit their unique requirements,” says the head of Petal Ads, HUAWEI APAC region.
According to Petal Ads’ spokesperson, bringing these features into a single interface is key to streamlining the advertising process. Rather than companies relying on multiple vendors for design or analytics, or toggling between different applications and platforms, the Petal Ads service makes it “easier for brands to create effective and impactful campaigns.”
For example, during Ramadan, consumers are likelier to spend money on clothing, food, or new household goods. By leveraging Petal Ads, brands can implement a festive marketing strategy that embeds Ramadan-specific promotions to create a pathway to their e-commerce apps, official websites, or offline shops.
More and more personalisation
It’s not enough to just provide the ability to design and deliver ads — consumers today want more personalisation in every aspect of their digital experience, right down to the marketing they see. According to a 2023 study by customer engagement platform Twilio, 86% of consumers say personalised experiences can increase their brand loyalty.
To enable this for brands, Petal Ads’ advanced targeting capabilities enable advertisers to craft their campaigns at multiple touch points at the device level. The platform does this by leveraging Huawei’s Data Management Platform (DPM) that collates and analyses data from Huawei device users.
Targeting will be especially important in the highly-diverse Southeast Asia region, where consumer preferences and behaviours can vary significantly, but it also enables brands to market cost-effectively. The Petal Ads platform is essential here, as it allows advertisers to run tests and iterate their campaigns “without breaking the bank,” said a Petal Ads spokesperson.
“Our algorithms auto-optimise campaigns for maximum effectiveness so advertisers can reach the right people at the right time with the right message, even as consumer behaviour and trends change,” says the head of Petal Ads, HUAWEI APAC region.
It’s significant that this data is specific to the Huawei ecosystem as brands essentially have a source of information that is squarely focused on the habits of Huawei users. Relatedly, this also means that brands have the opportunity to create a seamless user experience across various touchpoints.
For example, if a roaming service is activated by a tourist on vacation, the AppGallery can serve recommendations on must-have local apps, or a digital travel brand may deliver ads on relevant tours or attractions.
Petal Ads also highlighted that the company wants to ensure that brands’ marketing efforts are constantly building on past successes to ensure their long-term sustainability and adaptability. Through the platform, brands can access real-time data and analytics to track their campaigns’ performance and adjust as needed.
Value beyond the ad
Despite being a relatively new service, Petal Ads has already had a fair amount of success. In 2022 alone, advertisers invested millions in ads that have garnered over 25 billion ad impressions and 10 million app downloads.
When asked about their competitive advantage over comparable platforms, Petal Ads’ spokesperson said they “don’t see direct competition in the market because of the audience and inventory within the ecosystem that we’ve built.”
Instead, the platform’s success is attributable to not just its technology or affordability, but also the added advantage of connecting to the wider Huawei ecosystem.
The platform provides joint marketing activities with other Huawei products, including Huawei AppGallery, Petal Search, Petal Maps, and Huawei Consumer Business Group. It also has the capability to customise marketing solutions across Petal Ads platform to fit advertisers’ unique requirements.
More than that, brands also have opportunities to go beyond the limitations of a digital ad by collaborating with other Huawei companies or consumer groups on online or offline promotions.
One company that has seen success thanks to Petal Ads is social media platform Kumu, from the Philippines. Petal Ads and Kumu partnered on a small pilot programme that “saw early success.” This then led to a longer-term investment by Kumu — which roped in its growth marketing agency, AVOW — that resulted in immense success: 100,000+ app downloads with an average engagement rate of 60%, not to mention a 57% improvement in its cost-per-download (CPD) rate.
“Kumu was able to reach a highly-engaged audience and helped it achieve better results compared to its previous advertising efforts,” said the spokesperson for Petal Ads.
Continuous improvements for Petal Ads
Although the ad industry continues to witness swift changes and lesser profits, Petal Ads is remaining focused on continuously improving its advertiser experience with a focus on innovation.
Among planned improvements, Petals Ads will be rolling out new ad formats with some elements of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to leverage consumer tailwinds in interactive and immersive experiences. The company is exploring new ways to integrate machine learning and data analytics technologies in order to improve their targeting and reporting capabilities.
When asked about potential focus areas for Petal Ads over the next couple of years, Petal Ads’ spokesperson pointed to the need for stronger ecosystem integration. “We want to prioritise these issues given their increasing importance to advertisers and consumers alike,” he said. This can, for example, be by continuously growing the number of ecosystem partners and developing platform capabilities to provide better services for advertisers and consumers.
The Petal Ads inventory offers many daily user touchpoints, from Huawei owned apps to display networks. Its device level touchpoints are unique and generate effective results, allowing advertisers to connect better with current and potential users. Beside the platform capabilities, Petal Ads’ technical and partner development support is top-notch.